What Do You Do With Your Change?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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What Do You Do With Your Change?

Post by jbk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:12 am

A bank here (TD Bank) used to convert change to paper for free, but it now charges 6% for non-customers. Another company (Coinstar) charges 10%, though it will give you a gift card to Amazon without charge. What do you do with your change?


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Post by KCJayhawker » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:20 am

Even though I do all my primary banking online (USAA) I have a local account for my son as I feel it's an easier way to teach him about banking/money. We keep our coins and deposit them in his account a couple times a year. Probably about $200-$300/yr and we don't use cash all that often.

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Post by awval999 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:20 am

I hate change. To be honest I throw away pennies, give the change to the countless tip jars or if my girlfriend is with me I give her all of it. It's why I use debit/credit cards for everything.

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Post by Sidney » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:24 am

Don't use cash that often. I just spend the change or dump some in tip jars at the coffee shop.
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Post by burgrat » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:35 am

I put my change in a jar at the end of each day. About once a month or two I take it to my local branch (Wells Fargo) and change it. I did it yesterday and had $82. I feel kind of like a kid doing that, walking into the bank with a jar of change, but what the heck. My daily change adds up to several hundred dollars a year.
Wells Fargo now charges 2% for changing more than $100, even for customers. I do use Coinstar sometimes if I plan on making a big purchase on Amazon. Coinstar also has promotions from time to time in which they will give an extra $10 on a gift card to iTunes or Amazon, for example. Watch their website as they do this only occationally.

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Post by gkaplan » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:32 am

I have a coin purse.

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Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:36 am

My credit card doesn't give change.

I wonder if the weight of coins in actual circulation peaked a while ago and has been dropping.
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Post by Harold » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:30 am

I've definitely noticed a drop in the numbers of pennies, with an increase in rounding to the nearest nickel when being given change.

I have a nice small clay jar that I have where I keep my wallet/keys. Each day I drop whatever coins I have into it.

Each month, when determining my net worth, I include the coins from the jar. If there's more than enough to fill a coin roll, I fill it and set aside for my next trip to a bank (which may be months away). Since I don't purchase a lot, and even less with cash, there's not a lot of coin-counting going on -- and I've found filling a coin roll every couple of months is very manageable (and I don't end up with this huge pile of coins that others find onerous). If I run low on coin rolls, I just ask the bank for more.

I'll also occasionally use the (non-penny) coins from that jar when buying a BART ticket.

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Post by nisiprius » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:38 am

From time to time I go on a short "pay exact change" streak and fumble in my pockets and count out dimes and pennies... if there's nobody waiting behind me. Like a little kid in a five-and-ten.

I can't get rid of all my change that way. My wife participates in a walk-for-charity thing, and, well, you know, her biggest sponsor is herself. She keeps a jar to save change in for her self-sponsorship, and when my pocket gets too heavy I contribute to it. I'm ashamed :oops: to say I tend to hang onto the quarters and give her the pennies, nickels and dimes.

When I get too many quarters I put them in the cupholder in the car for parking meters. We share the car so my wife does get some of my quarters.

Periodically we take the coins to the bank. The bank does charges non-customers, but that's not an issue for us because we are customers. Long-time customers. Because this little local bank has always given us a fair shake, and their interest rates have always been acceptable, and they don't do seduce-and-abandon teaser deals. Because they cough up when local organizations ask them for donations. And because they count our coins for free.
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Post by mhc » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:10 am

I like to use cash, so I give exact change when I can. I also use the quarters for the self car wash. Then once a year we collect up the additional coins and give them to a local women's clinic as a donation. The women's clinic has a "change drive" every year.

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Post by boglethis » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:24 am

keep it in a jar and then my wife runs it through one of those machines at the bank once a month or so.

when i was younger and would pay for gas with cash i used to grab whatever change was in my car and add it to the amount i was purchasing. so rather than 10 bucks i would put in $10.22 or whatever. I was always kinda proud for not wasting that change back then....

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Post by amarone » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:25 am

I spend it and it does not accumulate. While most of my purchases are on credit card, when I do pay cash I do it in a way that minimizes the change I get or, ideally, uses up some that I have. This can confuse some cashiers, e.g. the total is $2.85 so I give them $3.10.

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Post by downshiftme » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:25 am

I sort out the pennies into a jar for a nephew that collects them and seems to enjoy sorting through a pile to find dates he likes.

I dump the rest into a bowl on my dresser and dip into it whenever I need to bring change for a bus ride. It usually piles up slowly until Halloween when the UNICEF kids come and I can send a bunch away with them.

I've been doing this for about 10 years and so far none of the piles has grown so big I need to cash them in.

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Post by NAVigator » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:30 am

My church has the young kids collect change from people in the "noisy offering" which goes in a big metal mixing bowl (ch-ching!). The children love it and the money goes to a needy charity. The "real" money makes less noise but has a greater impact.

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Post by Sunny Sarkar » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:34 am

I use my change to bribe my little one to do her homework or math practice or score a 100 in any test at school. "Positive reinforcement". She buys littlest petshop toys and other kiddo stuff at walmart. It teaches her about making choices (the "better" toy for more quarters or the "ok" one for fewer). Recently we have started a conversation about opening a bank account.

One side effect: at the car dealership during a recent car purchase she asked "how many quarters" the car was :-)
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Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:42 am

I collect quarters for the laundromat. I use dimes and nickels to add value to my Metro card called SmarTrip.

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Post by HomerJ » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:47 am

I don't have any change... I rarely use cash, and when I do I just tip a couple of dollars and the left-over change.

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Post by SP-diceman » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:52 am

I hate change.
When I go out, I check my pants for change, so I can remove it.

A few stray quarters nickels dimes in the car, from toll booths
and drive-thru’s, would be all I could scrape up in an emergency.
(in the day of the pay phone, always thought it was a good idea
to keep some change in the car)

I get rid of it thru coinstar.
The supermarket I shop in lets you use coinstar receipts for food purchases.


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Post by chaz » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:09 am

I use a credit card.
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Post by scrabbler1 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:13 am

I use cash for most of my everyday small purchases. So I look for opportunities to use my coins (other than quarters, which I need for the laundry) as part of my purchase. For example, my grocery bill yesterday was $57.27 so I handed the cashier $60.30 (I had no nickels and needed to keep my quarters), unloading 3 dimes. Pennies are easier to unload because I will have more chances to include them with large bills.

I recall when I was working I once bought lunch at a fast food place and the bill was something like $6.68 so I was able to unload 68 cents worth of dimes, nickels, and pennies!

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Post by BigD53 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:29 am

I spend most of it, just like I do my paper money. :lol: Nothing difficult about that.

I also keep spare change in my car. When it builds up to a few dollars, I give it to one of the numerous homeless Vets around this area.

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Post by Gort » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:39 am

I keep the quarters for parking meters, self-serve car wash, and occasional trip to the laundromat for washing bulky items that won't fit in my washing machine. The remainder I put in those counter-top tip jars that seem to be ubiquitous.

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Post by skylar » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:52 am

One branch of my credit union has a free coin counting machine. If I know I'm going by that branch I'll take my coin box and pour them through. Comes out to about $30/year so it's probably not worth my time but...

If I'm traveling I'll take a big bag of small coins for public transit. It's amazing how fast you can go through nickels that way. :D

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Post by og15F1 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:59 am

I put it in a bowl in a drawer

After about 3 years of doing that the bowl is at about 50%

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Post by Opponent Process » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:13 pm

I hoard change. when I was a poor kid, I'd go fishing around in pay telephones for quarters. in middle school I'd steal loose change from teachers' desks. fifty cents would still buy you a pack of baseball cards in the early 90s. I still get excited when I see a quarter sitting around, all nice and big compared to the other common coins, feels good in your hands. now that I'm a little better off I keep jars of coins around the apartment, including one by my bed that I look at every night.
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Post by Stupendous » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:14 pm

For the rare times I do have change I put it in a jar and eventually count it and roll it up myself. Then I'll deposit it at the bank. But 99.9% of the time I use credit cards so my change doesn't build up quickly.

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Post by mcblum » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:24 pm

nice question!
I have a two gal. aluminum can in the closet. every day, I throw my pennies and some "silver" (nickels and dimes) in it. It builds up and, maybe once a year, I take it to the bank. Last year, about $90.

This also reminds me of the last time I was in Europe(1974). When crossing from Switzerland into France, you could not change currency if it was in coins so I bought a ton of chocolate in Switz. and ate it on the train! the good old pre-Euro days!

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Post by 555 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:36 pm

I put it in my pocket and spend it next time. It doesn't acculmulate that way. You'll never have more than 4 pennies, etc.

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Post by epilnk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:08 pm

I try to use exact change when I have change on me, which isn't that common unless I'm at a drive-thru window. Panhandlers are welcome to any that is in my pockets - it's a trivial amount, but they value it more highly than I do.

My kids are usually eager to take accumulated change off my hands for a fund-raiser through their school; they've collected change for disasters in Japan, Chile, Pakistan, and Haiti this year.

I keep my coins in the bottom of the washing machine and in a detergent cup beside the laundry sink, along with my husband's freshly washed chapstick and pens.

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Post by Independent » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:23 pm

Coins go into my pocket with my car keys. When I pay cash for something, I look at my coins and see if I can use them. No need to be exact, maybe the total was $3.16 and I give the cashier $3.26. This typically speeds up cash transactions.

I don't have any problem with change accumulating. (But, I'd be fine with a decision to stop minting pennies.)

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Post by Independent » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:38 pm

Approximate totals so far:

7 - Accumulate, take to bank
6 - Regular spending / use exact change
4 - Use credit card instead
3 - Accumulate and give to kids
2 - Give away, tip jars
2 - Coinstar
1 - Church / Charity

I skipped some responses that had multiple methods.

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Re: What Do You Do With Your Change?

Post by Ed 2 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:46 pm

jbk wrote:A bank here (TD Bank) used to convert change to paper for free, but it now charges 6% for non-customers. Another company (Coinstar) charges 10%, though it will give you a gift card to Amazon without charge. What do you do with your change?

I roll my coins ones a year and deposit into my bank account without any problem. Total accumulation in my coin jar averaging ~$200. Total Bogleheadish way to safe. I don't pay any commissions except couple of dollars to buy the paper rolls in the Target store.
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Post by aja8888 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:08 pm

I have an old moonshine jug I found in Missouri about 40 years ago. It's on a file cabinet in my home office. I put all my change in it. At Christmas, I give it to the young grand-kids as a gift. Historically, it has about $100 in it each year. They love it. I used to give it to my daughter each year, but she is 32 now.

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Post by marylandcrab » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:30 pm

We have a big empty cheese puff container that we put all our change. I give myself $100 every other payday. I have a fetching coach change purse so I can hang onto the change. Our goal is to turn it in when we fill it all the way up.

Our local bank lets its customers use their machine for free.

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Post by OAG » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:51 pm

Don't know as I do not carry ANY change. All goes to the DW - have no idea she does with it.
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Post by norm » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:05 pm

I have a ceramic canister marked LSD that I throw my quarters in and a glass bowl for all other change. It's a habit I've had foras long as I remember.

My wife and I once filled a glass water cooler bottle with change.

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Post by Duckie » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:11 pm

I drop it in a jar. During Lent my church puts out Lenten boxes. I fill up a couple.

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Post by Colorado13 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:15 pm

I keep mine in a couple of coffee mugs. Before going on vacation, I take them to the bank to cash them out, then use the cash as extra vacation no-guilt, fun money.

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Post by Candor » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:05 pm

I never use change. I have a large bottle that I have been putting all my change in for the past 20 years. I dumped it out a few years ago and tried to count it and after counting over $1k in quarters I gave up. It should be full in a couple of years and I would guess it will have $4-5k in the bottle. Not a good use of that money I know but it's almost like free money to me at this point.

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Post by Babakhani » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:12 pm

Gort wrote:I keep the quarters for parking meters, self-serve car wash, and occasional trip to the laundromat for washing bulky items that won't fit in my washing machine. The remainder I put in those counter-top tip jars that seem to be ubiquitous.
I use mostly credit card so I don't have much change. But occasionally I use cash and I just tell them that I don't want the change. I used to say to keep the change except for the quarters for toll and parking and laundry. But I have my own laundry now, the toll is electronic debiting, and parking meters take credit now. So I don't even collect the change. I almost never have cash unless I travel so I can tip.
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Post by MWCA » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:54 pm

Only change we have is the coins we collect while going for a walk. Think this year Im beating DW by .70 cents. She tells me its my young eyes ;)

But anyways. We just snag an amazon certificate. Since we usually buy things from there.
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Post by IMADreamer » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:17 am

I got an electronic "piggy bank" for Christmas a few years ago from my old boss. It's kind of awesome because it tells you how much change you have put in so I just put my change in it and then every year I cash it in near my birthday and buy myself a birthday present I normally would never spend money on.

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Post by celia » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:05 am

I laugh whenever I see a Coinstar machine. Change your coins to cash. ????

I thought coins were cash. Why would anyone pay a commission to have their cash re-packaged? Sometimes when I see someone using the machine, I ask them about how it works to see if they realize the commission they're paying. They realize it, but do it anyway.

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Post by FedGuy » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:59 am

I have a little coin purse thing that I keep in my pocket. Whenever I accumulate change, it goes in there. Whenever I spend cash--which is relatively rare, but I do spend cash at the vending machine, dry cleaner, and, rarely, the drug store for small purchases--I always use up as much change as I can in the process. I kind of feel like life is a game where one of the goals is to get rid of all your change, except that life has a nasty habit of dumping more change on you when you've just about spent all the change you have.

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Post by House Blend » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:01 am

Candor wrote:I never use change. I have a large bottle that I have been putting all my change in for the past 20 years. I dumped it out a few years ago and tried to count it and after counting over $1k in quarters I gave up. It should be full in a couple of years and I would guess it will have $4-5k in the bottle.
Wow. At 5.67g each, $1K in quarters is 50lbs., 10oz.

When you get 'round to it, could you set aside an Oklahoma 'D', a New Mexico 'P' and a Hawaii 'P' for me? ;-)

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Post by Spades » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:57 am

When I worked at Sonic and got tons of change, I would roll it myself to deposit into my local bank account. Now, I just keep it in my wallet and use it to pay in exact change.

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Post by davemartin88 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:03 pm

Before I retired, all my change went in to an empty water cooler jar, it was nearly half full. One day I needed a penny for something so I tipped the jar over to get one, the jar broke, what a mess. Turns out there was nearly $1800 that we sorted and rolled. We built a new house last year so used this money for some lighting upgrades we wouldn't have done otherwise.

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Post by FabLab » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:41 pm

Try not to spend it :D
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Post by Lente » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:40 pm

I hate change. It collects around the house. I always try to have a dime in my pocket to use as a ball mark when I play golf.

Currently I have two large jars of change. I am going to have to hunt for a place to change it without charging me commission.

Banks boggle my mind - they'll change "rolled coins" for free, but want a commission for unrolled coins. Yet...last time I deposited rolled coins, they broke the rolls open and counted them anyway (presumably to ensure I wasn't stuffing them?) so isn't it less work for them to just take unrolled coins??

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Post by Harold » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:03 pm

Lente wrote:Banks boggle my mind
I generally have my I'll take my business elsewhere speech ready when I make a deposit including unrolled coins. Tellers occasionally resist counting them, claiming they can accept only rolls. They always relent after I firmly insist, but it's not exactly comfortable.

I haven't needed to use the speech yet, and I'm sure a manager would be hard-pressed to lose regular use of thousands of my dollars merely because an entry level teller doesn't want to count eighteen dimes.

(I'm always a bit incredulous because they don't require me to save up my ones or tens until I have a whole stack to wrap up for a deposit -- they'll count those.)

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